HMS Bulwark

HMS Bulwark

The proud Flagship of the Royal Navy and the nation, HMS Bulwark flexes her amphibious muscle to respond quickly to crises and world events. 

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Earlier this year, assault ship HMS Bulwark tested the full range of her amphibious capabilities during the massive multinational exercise Joint Warrior off Scotland. Since then the ship has been involved in a series of high-profile visits around the UK and France, including events in London to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines.

Bulwark was then honoured to play a prominent part in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day; an amphibious landing on Southsea beach provided the prelude to leading an international flotilla of warships to Normandy. Aboard were two D-Day veterans - Admiral Sir William O'Brian, the former commanding officer of HMS Cottesmore in 1944 and Corporal Coxswain Bill Bryant RM, who helmed a landing craft on D-Day.

June 6th was filled with poignant reflection, veteran memories and stunning displays, but the highlight for Bulwark and her ship's company was welcoming over 300 veterans and their families in Arromanches - with guests of honour the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Now HMS Bulwark is in the midst of final preparations before setting out at the head of the Navy's Reaction Force Task Group on Cougar 14, a deployment to the Mediterranean and Middle East, later this year.


On Deployment

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Current operation Cougar 14

Cougar is an amphibious task force exercising in the Mediterranean. The Response Force Task Group (RFTG) is the Royal Navy’s High Readiness Task Group. It has a number of units assigned to it including a helicopter carrier, an assault ship, two frigates, as well as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship and Commando units, and several Fleet Air Arm squadrons.

  • Cougar 14

    Cougar is an amphibious task force exercising in the Mediterranean.

  • Cougar 13

    Cougar is an amphibious task force exercising in the Mediterranean.

Preventing conflict

The Royal Navy’s presence on the world stage sends a powerful message that the UK is committed to global affairs and provides a stabilising influence. In this way we prevent conflict on the high seas and protect the flow of international trade on which our nation depends.  

International partnerships

As the fifth largest economy in the world, the UK has responsibilities towards its allies and partners. But Britain also has global ambitions – namely to protect the seaways underpinning the country’s prosperity. The Royal Navy plays a crucial role in fostering these enduring and lasting alliances with other nations.

Location Mediterranean

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Unit History

The First Bulwark1777

The current assault ship is the seventh RN warship to bear the name in a history that stretches back to 1777 but despite her naming, the keel was never laid and she was later cancelled.

The Second Bulwark1807

The second Bulwark made it through build and was launched in April 1807, and served for almost two decades, seeing service in the American War of 1814-15. She was broken up in 1825.

The Third Bulwark1859

The next Bulwark suffered a similar fate to the first – laid down in 1859, her build was put on hold, and she lay dry until being dismantled in 1872.

The Fourth Bulwark1860

The fourth, a wooden first-rate 121-gun battleship, made it to launch in 1860, notched up her steam trials in 1861, but was never completed for sea.

The Fifth Bulwark1899

The fifth, a 15,000-ton twin-screw battleship, was launched at Devonport in 1899, and claims the Antarctic explorer Capt Robert Falcon Scott as one of her commanding officers.


She also suffered an ill-fated end off Sheerness in November 1914 – while loading on ammunition an internal explosion tore the heart of the ship apart, killing all but 12 of the 750 ship’s company.

The Sixth Bulwark1948

The 22,000-ton light fleet carrier, launched in June 1948, was the last holder of the name. She saw service in the Suez Crisis before being modified to a pure helicopter commando carrier in 1959.

The Rusty B1976

She retired in 1976 , but returned in 1979 as an anti-submarine warfare carrier – living up to her nickname 'The Rusty B', drawn from her motto 'Under thy wings I will (t)rust'.

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Commanding Officer Dean Bassett

Rank: Captain

Captain Dean Bassett joined the Royal Navy in 1991 and after completing Initial Officer Training. He assumed command of HMS Bulwark in January 2014.

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HMS Bulwark can carry 256 troops, with their vehicles and combat supplies.

HMNB Devonport

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